JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lawmakers spent more than two hours sharing their views on further terminating pregnancies before the House gave their approval to a bill that would nearly ban all abortions.
On Wednesday, less than 24 hours following perfection, the Missouri House voted 117-39 to send HB 126 to the Senate. The measure sponsored by Rep. Nick Schroer would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected unless the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, then it would outright ban all abortions, unless in medical emergencies.
Representatives on both sides of the aisle were very passionate about their particular stances with the debate being very cordial, for the most part. Supporters argued that this bill protects life while opponents said the measure takes away the rights of women.
“The time for choice is at conception, not after,” said Rep. Kathy Swan in support of the bill.
“I am going to vote against the government forcing a woman, against her will, to carry a pregnancy to term,” said Rep. Jon Carpenter in opposition.
Schroer’s original bill would prohibit any abortion from being performed once a fetal heartbeat expect in medical emergencies. Those who violated the heartbeat ban would pay a $1,000 fine and face the possibility of the physician’s medical license be revoked.
Multiple amendments were added to the bill during the perfection process including the requirement that bans all abortions after 20 weeks gestation, one requires two parent consent for a minor to abort a pregnancy, and one that prevents abortions on the basis of a prenatal diagnosis indicating Down Syndrome.
The amendment that gained the most attention was a so-called trigger law. A provision now apart of the bill would ban all abortions, unless for medical emergencies, if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
“All persons have a natural right to life,” said Rep. Adam Schnelting. “If there is any doubt on where life begins I urge my colleagues to err on the side of caution.”
“This doesn’t make Missouri a pro-life state, it makes Missouri a pro-birth state,” said Rep. Ian Mackey.
Several lawmakers shared deeply personal stories, for and against the legislation. Both sides of the debate had personal experiences that influenced their opinions and standpoint on the issue.
Minority Leader Crystal Quade made a followup to the story she shared during perfection. She said she never would wish what happened to her on anyone but “I wish you knew what it was like to have no control over your own body.”
She argued that they made no concessions in the bill to protect women.
Another lawmaker argued for the bill, saying he would not be here if his mother had gone through with abortion when she was 16-years-old and pregnant by a man twice her age.
The omnibus abortion bill now heads to the Senate.
Following the passage of the bill, House Republicans held a press conference on what they refer as the most pro-life measure in the country. Watch the full press conference below:
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.